Double Concerto (To a Future. . .)

see three different instrumentations below

Three versions of this concerto are available:
fortepiano, harpsichord and strings
2 modern pianos and strings
2 modern pianos and full orchestra

A performance of the version for two modern pianos and strings can be heard on YouTube.

This unique double concerto, originally composed for fortepiano, harpsichord and small string ensemble, combines concepts and techniques that are both old and new. Though the music of all three versions is essentially the same, because of differences in instrumentation, the overall effect and personality of each version is quite different. It has three movements, as described below.

The playful first movement begins with a process of expansion: a motoric repetition of a rising and expanding series of eighth notes. It expands as more notes are continually added and as intervals between some notes get bigger. The two keyboards then add dialogues of contrasting rhythms and harmonies over this expanding ostinato. A notable aspect of those dialogues is that they often play in different note groupings: one in 3s and the other in 2s. The result is a lively and playful dialogue between rhythms, meters, harmonic colors and instrumental forces.

… echoes…
As the title suggests, echoes are important in this slow sombre movement. The keyboards introduce melodic ideas that orchestra players then quietly repeat. Because earlier patterns continue as new ones are added, the textures become more complex over time. Waves of such texture ebb and flow while the keyboard players elaborate in freer and more expressive ways. Occasionally, dramatic accelerandos lead to climaxes. Some have expressive harmonies shared between the keyboards in fast echo-like dialogues, while others are orchestral climaxes of “controlled aleatory” (busy textures).

… to a future…
The upbeat final movement could technically be called a rhythmically expanding and contracting modulating chaconne (chaconne being variations based on a repeating chord progression.) The keyboards begin quietly, playing the chords simply and in a relaxed regular rhythm. Soon,though, the duration of some chords is lengthed while that of others is shortened. When the orchestra plays the chords, a quirky syncopated rhythm based on expanding and contracting note values is heard. This rhythm then continues throughout most of the movement. When used, it repeats, almost like a Medieval isorhythm that’s been updated for our modern ears.

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